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On Target: Setting Our Sights on the Bull’s-Eye

Open letter to the Target Corporation:

Listen up.

The women of Santa Barbara want a Target store to call our very own.

In fact, we demand one. We are not kidding around here. We pledge to whine irritatingly to you, as we have to one another for years, until we get one.

Target is our Disneyland. Just as a child gleefully anticipates the dark, slippery descent into the Pirates of the Caribbean, we ladies look deliriously forward to bounding down the bright aisles of your stores with shameless abandon, marveling at the bounty of booty around every corner.

Under the guise of hunting for Midol and a greeting card, we have been known to absent-mindedly knock toile throw pillows, sleek travel mugs, chunky-heeled boots, ceramic dog bowls, quick-dry nail polish and purse-sized cartons of goldfish crackers into our carts — and then double back around to have another go.

Some of us are wearing three Target items as you read this.

Target is our holy land, our retail temple, and our faith will not be rattled by poor substitutes — usually bearing the “mart” suffix — whose dimly lit shelves are crammed with third-rate merchandise. We’ll take designers Michael Graves, Mossimo and Todd Oldham over Martha any day, sister.

We gather our girlfriends and shop there as a giggly group. We bring food in our purses because we know we’re going to be there a long, long time. We buy clothes without trying them on in the hopes they won’t fit and we’ll have an excuse to return. We take our perfect, shiny red Target Visa cards out of our wallets sometimes at home, at work, at stoplights, just to hold them and daydream of things that might be …

Despite having our motives questioned while trying to return ugly gifts, our carts stolen while shopping in the DVD aisle and our psyches permanently damaged while looking at our bikini-clad bodies in your abominably lit dressing rooms — Target is our happy place.

At least one of us claims to feel “at one with the universe” when she enters. At least one of us has had to have an employee help her maneuver a flotilla of six full shopping carts through the store. At least one of us has already purchased three faux-fur jackets from you this season and really needs to get control of herself.

But all of us must ask one favor of you, to whom we have been so psychotically loyal: We want a Target store in Santa Barbara.

Don’t tell us there are stores in Ventura and Santa Maria. From where you sit in Minnesota, that may seem close enough, but the hour drive is tough to justify when we’ve convinced ourselves we are only running in to grab Cat Chow and bobby pins.

Don’t talk to us about the pricey property and strict building codes in this town. We expect you to meet such challenges with the same efficiency and aplomb you use to usher grinning, goods-laden guests through your abundant checkout lines with a miraculous minimum of exasperation. (How, oh how, do you do it, Target?)

We wish we could tell you that if you don’t open a Target in Santa Barbara, we will boycott your nearest stores — but it would be a lie. We are hooked, addicted, strung out on your phenomenal fusion of functional and fabulous.

You are an unremitting, albeit well-accesorized, monkey on our backs.

But we are not entirely without recourse. Until that big red bull’s-eye rolls into town, we will bombard your headquarters with pleading letters (to: Target Stores, P.O. Box 9350, Minneapolis, MN 55440, Attn: Property Development) and beg your customer service representatives (at: 800/440-0680) to show some compassion, end our suffering and grace us with their perky, in-person presence.

Or, failing that, to describe in florid language and vivid detail the treasures on special this week and tell us what time the Ventura store closes.

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My columns are collected in three lovely books, which make a SPLENDID gift for wives, friends, book clubs, hostesses, and anyone who likes to laugh!
Keep Your Skirt On
Wife on the Edge
Broad Assumptions
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